Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Aid" that doesn't aid, and Nobel peace prizes

"For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!"
SPIEGEL Interview with African Economics Expert

SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...

Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

The lessons of what we Americans call "tough love" are simple. And nothing in this difficult but effective method of dealing with chronic problems includes seemingly charitable acts that do little to thwart the cause of the problem itself. In fact, these acts of "unkindness" in the name of "help" only enable the afflicted.

Case in point, African AID. Just like the Live Aid concerts of years past, so little of the funds made it to the intended. Sure... everyone enjoyed a good concert and went home to their homes and flats, patting themselves on the back for their perceived good deeds. But the truth is, it did little more than line the pockets of the corrupt African leadership.

From the mouth of one of Africa's own comes a truth that is substantiated in historical fact. This interview with Spiegels is one steeped in truths, reality and "tough love".

A surprising echo of the same sentiments of the situation's harsh reality appears in an LA Times commentary by Niall Ferguson, a Harvard history professor.

It may come as a surprise to Live 8 fans, but the top three reasons why most African countries are economic basket cases are not lack of aid, excessive debt service payments and protectionism by developed countries. The real culprits are chronic misgovernment, recurrent civil war and the high incidence of diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

Between 1975 and 1984, real net aid from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to Sub-Saharan African countries grew at nearly 8% — two and a half times faster than in the last 10 years. Yet African economic growth was 2% a year. With the exception of the compulsively optimistic Jeffrey Sachs — Bono's new best friend — most economists agree that higher growth in Africa will only come with real political reform in such countries as Zimbabwe and real peace in such places as Congo.

Will Live 8 put pressure on Robert Mugabe to step down? Will it put pressure on Congo's warring factions to lay down their arms? Strange to say, those demands don't seem to have made it into Sir Bob's manifesto. Why not? It's so much more satisfying for the Jellybys to make believe that Africa's woes are the fault of those "eight men" — all white, and terminally uncool — who lead the G-8 countries.

Words well spoken. Will it be heeded?

Hang no... the insanity just dives further off the deep end. Instead, Bob Geldof has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize by a Norwegian parliamentarian for his Live Aid and Live 8 efforts.

Whoa... I guess intent trumps reality in the Nobel world. A study of absurdity at best. Considering Geldof as a nominee, or Kofi Annan's award of the same prize back in 2001, it sure makes one scratch their head about the intrinsic value of this so-called "honor".

I'll say it again... off planet, please.

1 comment:

TrekMedic251 said...

As I have stated in the past, the problem with Africa isn't money, its the leadership (or lack thereof) of these sub-Saharan nations that's causing the most problems.

There are times when I think countries like Zimbabwe (nee Rhodesia) and South Africa (to name a few) were better off under colonial rule.

Actually, I think the former colonialists should have been weaned from power gradually, letting the "locals" get their political balance, so to speak, before leaving.

Ah, but that's not how the UNtied Nations wanted things in the 60s and 70s. Those nasty Europeans were exploiting the locals and needed to be supplanted by the benevolence of the UN. And you see what it got them?

Live Aid, Live 8, Live 8 + 20,'ll still be the same, AFAIC.